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On PolarFlix: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ delivers

May 3, 2018

Welcome to the fifth and final week (for the year) of On PolarFlix, a column meant to do exactly what it sounds like: review films on Bowdoin Student Government (BSG)’s movie streaming service, PolarFlix. This week, we are reviewing Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013).

Plot Summary (no spoilers!):

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an up-and-coming stock trader who, after being laid off during a market crash, decides to get into the business of selling penny stocks, which give him much higher returns on investment. Along with business partner Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), he builds his empire in an increasingly drug-addled and illegal manner. F.B.I. Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler, better known as Coach Taylor from “Friday Night Lights”) is tasked with tracking Belfort down. Supporting characters help to give the film life, including love interest Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie in her first major role), stock trader Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) and Belfort’s father, Max (Rob Reiner).

Best Mood for Watching:

The year is winding down, the sun is finally beginning to shine and frankly I’m feeling a bit sentimental. This film has very little place for that, as it is a tour de force of drugs, sex and stock trading as the noose begins to tighten on Belfort. As Scorsese has repeatedly noted, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is not meant to glorify Wall Street in the late 1980s, but it’s pretty hard not to be at least a little excited watching Matthew McConaughey chatting about cash in the stock market as “Fugazi” (fake).

Greatest One-Liner:

This is almost impossible to choose. The movie is riddled with great quotes, many of which (“I’m not going to die sober!”) have made their way into the realm of popular culture. I’ll go with an off-the-wall option here: after Belfort is arrested, due indirectly to a deal one of his business partners did with the owner of Benihana, his confidant Azoff says, matter-of-factly, “I’ll tell you what: I’m never eating at Benihana again. I don’t care whose birthday it is.” This is one piece of advice this movie gives that, it seems to me, we should all take to heart.

Intended Bowdoin Audience:

Over what I would imagine might be Scorsese’s protestations, I regularly hear lines from this film screamed on Friday or Saturday nights on this campus, almost exclusively by people with offers to work at banks this summer. I hate to break it to you, folks, but from what I hear, as an intern it’s a lot less cruising around in nice cars and going to parties, and a lot more working 14-hour days before crashing in a shitty N.Y.U. dorm, ready to wake up and do it all again. Hey, at least there’s free dinner though, right?

Watch/Don’t Watch:

It’s a fun movie, and as such I would recommend it. Just be careful not to get too sucked in, or before you know it you’ll find yourself smiling yet fully dead in the eyes on the front of a Bowdoin Career Planning brochure.

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